Military Working Dogs and Their Handlers Deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan Get a Leg Up from The New Barker Dog Magazine.
Military Working Dog Team Support Association (MWDTSA.ORG). A benefit drive called KONGs for K9s to help provide needed items not supplied by the military is kicking off during this Holiday Season and running through 2010.
Independent Pet-Related Retailers in Florida include:
The non-profit organization Military Working Dog Team Support Association (www.MWDTSA.org), provides support for retired and active duty military working dogs and their handlers. Active duty teams deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are currently in need of some pretty basic, but important items for their dogs. (See the wish list below). Even though the dogs are categorized as military equipment, they are highly regarded and well cared for by their human handlers.
Richard Starks, general manager of South Tampa Puppy Palace, decided to put a box in his lobby and start collecting donations of needed items. When he mentioned this to Anna Cooke, editor of The New Barker magazine, she immediately offered to help. Anna contacted her source at KONG Company informing them of the idea and they promised to match, toy for toy, every KONG toy purchased for the program in the state of Florida. Cooke personally contacted her magazine's retail advertisers, urging them to become drop off points and they all enthusiastically jumped on board. She convinced the makers of TUFFY's to help by shipping The New Barker a box of toys to "seed" the donation boxes at participating retailers. Wellness Natural Pet Food, through its WellPet Foundation, has already donated 52,000 dog snacks to MWDTSA, and has promised to do more.
The KONGs are actually used to help train the dogs in IED (explosives), weapons cache and drug detection. The other items requested by the troops include FURminators (for de-shedding purposes to prevent over-heating of the dogs), dog beds and/or elevated dog cots (the dogs currently sleep on dirt or concrete floors), high quality leashes and harnesses, Doggles eye goggles (for protection against the blowing sand), Pet Wipes and PediPaws (the paws of the dogs's feet get pretty worn from the rough terrain) and SoftPaws Nail Caps.
The cool thing about the program is that the items collected will go directly to the handlers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan via contacts at MacDill Air Force Base and Richard Starks, who will be packaging the items for shipment. When a request comes in via Military Working Dog Team Support Association, it is fulfilled as items are able to be collected.
(About The New Barker - Florida's top dog lifestyle magazine is entering its fourth year of publishing in 2010. The holiday/winter 2009/10 issue, featuring the first Florida Pet Charity Register ever published, is out now with a distribution of 15,000 and a projected readership of over 30,000. Visit www.thenewbarker.com for more information.)
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